Going postal

It all comes from liking yarn a bit too much, I think.

It started back in October. I ordered some yarn as a “Happy Birthday to Me” gift. I didn’t think it was such a big deal at the time. It was, after all, only yarn… Certainly not something that should affect anyone’s life six months later.

But it has. In a big way.

See, it seems that we have the laziest postal carriers on the face of the planet in this corner of Texas. They will go to any lengths to avoid getting out of that postal truck. They group mail boxes for a huge group of houses into banks of mailboxes for an entire block. They tell us that it’s because it’s more secure, but one has to wonder, especially after what we’ve been through.

During the week that the yarn was delivered, my family and I were really busy and passing each other without talking about less important things like who got the mail. I though hubby had picked it up. He thought that I had. So for three days, neither of us did. During that time, the yarn was delivered. Rather than dropping the package of yarn on our front step like most intelligent people would, our mail carrier shoved it into the mailbox. Needless to say, the mailbox filled up much faster than it should have. At the end of three days, the mail carrier “concluded” (ie saw that the mailbox was full and was too lazy to knock on the door of the house to which it belonged) that the address had been “abandoned”, took all of our mail, and returned it to the Post Office, where it was to be held until we went to pick it up. That night, we did check the mail, and rather than finding mail, we found a note saying that our mail was being held hostage.

Hubby and I felt pretty silly. We couldn’t believe that we’d allowed a little thing like mail to go unnoticed. But in our defense, the mailbox is halfway down the block and the weather wasn’t all that great that week. With a shamed face, I went to the Post Office the next day to pick up our mail. After a brief scolding by the postmaster, I got our mail and was told that everything would be back to normal in a couple days.

And it was… mostly.

Occasionally, we noticed that the mailbox was completely empty. It seemed a bit odd. In the US, almost everyone gets mail every day. Most of it’s junk, but we get something in the box. Still we didn’t think much of it until we started getting the phone calls.

“Hello. This is Blah D. Blah from This or That Company. We have your billing here. We need to confirm that you are still at this address.”

We kind of giggled on the first one. And the second. Then we started to be less and less amused. It didn’t happen every day or even every week. The problem is that we can’t predict when it will happen. Just out of the blue, we get a message from someone saying, “We tried to deliver but couldn’t. WHERE do you live?”

In the months since, we have returned to the Post Office several times. We filled out forms, yelled at managers, and done everything that they asked us to do. We have called the US Postal Service number and opened a trouble ticket. And we’ve spent more time on the phone with various companies, trying to convince them that we’re not deadbeats who randomly decide to skip town without a change of address. We’ve turned as many thing over to paperless billing as we could, anything to prevent the US Postal Service from having to touch our bills.

I don’t know how things are in other countries, but us Americans are spoiled. When we turn on the lights, we expect them to go on (as long as we pay our bills). When we pick up the phone, we expect there to be a dial tone. And if we go to our mailbox to get our mail, we assume that an empty mailbox means that no one has tried to contact us. I suspect that’s the way it is in most developed countries.

We don’t have that luxury any more. This has been going on for six months now, and we’re still getting calls.

The last time I called, the problem was supposedly flagged by the US Postal service for investigation. Today when I called, I learned that it was just forwarded to the head of the local Post Office. I could have told them how much good that would have done. (Hint: What’s one less than one?)

Supposedly, our issue has been escalated again, this time to the local Consumer Affairs Office. I suspect that I’m going to be less than impressed. I also suspect that I won’t know for sure unless I get a phone call from someone who has once again been told that we’ve abandoned our address.

I sometimes wonder if it would have made a difference if I didn’t order that yarn.

4 thoughts on “Going postal

  1. knit knerd

    wow… that’s that’s that’s not right!

    if the USPS is being a prick, contact your local congressperson and have them launch an investigation for you. chances are higher that they’ll get things done, and it’s what they’re there for. they’re your federal government liaison.

    maybe you should just pay for a PO Box? that might be easier.

    good luck!

  2. Lara

    That’s crazy!

    My parents have one of those communal mailboxes down the street, and they regularly only pick up their mail once a week. When there were seven of us living there, sometimes the little box would get full just of the regular mail and it would be rubber-banded together and placed in the large package box. We’d open our little box and find a key.

    I hope it gets straightened out soon! That is so frustrating.

  3. Troy Adams

    Ok, I can second the “call your congressman” response. Many years ago when we first moved into our house, we spent over six months trying to get our mail delivered. First excuse: roads weren’t finished. Well, they weren’t finish blacktopped, but that wasn’t going to happen for a year & they were fine to drive on, so interesting, but not good enough. Second excuse: they haven’t installed the cluster boxes. Umm, dude, no cluster boxes here, we live in a large standalone house. Nth excuse: road isn’t safe for our mailman. Well, that’s funny, the *school bus* that stops directly in front of my house doesn’t seem to be having any problem! DH filed weekly complaints, moving up the chain each time. The regional postmaster finally explained to him that *every* complaint we filed at any level was simply sent back to the local office for investigation, resulting in, you got it, no change. DH called our local congressman’s office. 48 hours later, our six month old shiny unused mailbox was filled with mail. Give up on the idiots. Call your congressman. Let them earn their pay.

  4. Pingback: Bookgrump » Yarn really *is* valuable!

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